Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 22, 2005
New chapel honours 'Fr. Bill'
Special to the WCR
On May 31, the new chapel at Rosedale Villa was dedicated to Msgr. Bill Irwin. Father Bill was a former resident of Rosedale on the Park, a seniors' assisted living complex in the Oliver area. He was a dynamic and courageous leader who dedicated his life to serving people in need.
Archbishop emeritus Joseph MacNeil and Father Len Gartner led the Mass in the bright and spacious new chapel. Approximately 60 residents of the Rosedale Village attended.
Irwin died Aug. 29, 2004 at the age of 76.
Stained glass windows and lovely pictures add a special decorative touch to the new chapel. A plaque which includes a portrait of Irwin, commemorates his life. The plaque was blessed by the archbishop and is on display in the chapel.
Rosedale on the Park, where Irwin lived, also has a chapel, however the construction of Rosedale Villa had just been completed and a larger chapel had been built to meet the needs of the residents.
"It seemed like a natural thing for us to dedicate the new chapel to Father Bill," said Lorenzo Clonfero, owner of Rosedale Developments. "The new chapel is accessible by all residents who live in the three Rosedale buildings, since all of the buildings are connected by pedways or hallways. Father Bill was a friendly and familiar face to many of our residents. We feel honoured that Father Bill chose Rosedale as his home."
MacNeil spoke of Irwin's zest for life, and his outstanding abilities as an athlete. He also spoke of his gifts as a leader for serving those in need.
Irwin was the founder and chief executive officer of Catholic Social Services (CSS) and Catholic Charities in Edmonton. He established CSS in 1961 and built it into Canada's largest multifunction social service agency.
Although the heritage of CSS is Catholic, its services are available to people of all faiths and cultures. The agency serves more than 60,000 people each year.
He was particularly proud of the development work that Catholic Social Services has done for the last 14 years in Manila and the Philippines.
Irwin was the recipient of many national and international awards. He was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1998 - the country's most prestigious citizenship award.
St. Stephen's College, University of Alberta, granted Irwin an honorary doctor of divinity degreeand the City of Edmonton selected him as one of its top 100 citizens of the century.